How I Took Advantage Of Amazon’s 20% Off Promo

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Yesterday evening I wrote about a great promotion that Amazon is running. Specifically, Amazon is offering 20% off when you use American Express Membership Rewards points to pay for at least part of your purchase. (in other words, you’d want to redeem exactly one point to get a $0.01 discount) The maximum discount is $100, meaning this is valid for a purchase of up to $500. Note that for whatever reason not everyone seems eligible, though a vast majority of people do report being able to take advantage of the offer.

The process of taking advantage of this is easy:

  • You first have to activate the offer by clicking the “Click to activate” button on this page (most people report being eligible for the offer, though some may not be)
  • Then add eligible items to your shopping cart, which includes virtually anything that is sold and shipped by Amazon
  • At check-out use at least one Membership Rewards point for your purchase (and that’s exactly what I’d do — I recommend redeeming exactly one point); be super careful when making the purchase, because it’s easy to accidentally redeem points for the entire cost of the purchase, which is a bad deal

Furthermore, in practice gift card purchases are eligible for this offer, though it is taking a few hours for them to process.

There seem to be two strategies that are most popular for taking advantage of this deal:

On the surface you’d think purchasing a $400 Amazon gift card plus a $100 gift card with another retailer would be the best deal. While that’s generally true, the catch is that you can’t buy an Amazon gift card with an Amazon account balance. I generally buy Amazon gift cards at office supply stores in order to earn 5x points, meaning that I’m getting an 8.5% return on the purchase at that point (since I value the points at 1.7 cents each).

In other words:

  • If I were to buy a $400 Amazon gift card plus a $100 gift card with another retailer, I’d be getting 20% off (which is great, but I can do better)
  • If I were to buy a $500 gift card with another retailer then I’d get $100 off, plus I’d get what I value at an 8.5% return on the $400 I spend, since I can use my existing Amazon balance towards that, which is a further $34 off; in other words, I’m really paying $366 for $500 worth of gift cards, which is nearly a third off

So what did I do? I bought $200 worth of Starbucks gift cards and $300 worth of Uber gift cards, since those are both companies I’d spend money with anyway.

What’s your strategy for taking advantage of this offer?


  1. How are you spending your saks fifth Avenue credit?

    What baffles me is a blog geared towards luxury travel also writes about pinching pennies. Get rid of your Starbucks habit and you would have saved $200.

  2. I think the best play here is the Amazon gcs since Amazon usually has sales up to 20% off other gc like

  3. I’m probably going to do $400 amazon and $100 netflix. Will pair nicely with my amex business blue where I am trying to meet signup offer and where I will get another 2k MR points after spending $50 with amazon.

  4. Is this language on the sign up page new?

    Promotional discount may not be redeemed for Gift Cards or third-party gift cards.
    If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.

  5. @Danny. LOL.
    You should follow his doppleganger Credit. Dude is certifiable and even worse than Debit

  6. I don’t know how you guys are getting the credit with gift cards because the credit does not show up for me when gift cards are in my cart.

  7. I clicked. Said I’m not eligible. Lots of Amex cards with MR. Anything I should being doing differently, or just out of luck on this?

  8. I have $501 amazon gift card balance in my account. I put $400 and $100 Uber gift cards in my cart, applied 0.01 Amex MR, and got 20% Amex discount. However, I couldn’t use amazon credit to pay the $399.99 balance. The payment page said “you can’t pay or visa gift card with amazon credit”. There was such thing in my cart. Looked like a glitch on amazon side.

  9. One other catch –

    The discount will not kick in on products not “sold by Amazon”. Third party sellers (which are used in several categories of products” do not count.

  10. I got the $100 credit on a mixture of gift cards (Whole Foods, Lyft, and Starbucks), but had to use my American Express card associated with my Membership Miles. I could not use my Amazon credit card.

  11. Purchased a TV that I was planning to buy and also purchased a Amazon GC for $200 for a total of $500+. The entire 20% was applied as a discount for the TV. I wasted over an hour trying to charge the balance to a Chase Visa Card, which nullified using a MR point. Finally wised up that the balance has to be on the same AMX card that you deduct the MR point. Most of your readers will know this already, but wanted to share in case anyone tries to use a non-AMX card and gets frustrated like I did. Thanks Ben for saving me $100 today!

  12. Some gift cards are still being accepted, but amazon/visa particularly do not work anymore! I just got starbucks/nordstorm combo that went through.

  13. “American Express® reports that you do not have a Membership Rewards® account.”

    Not all american express cards issue Membership rewards. i.e. delta skymiles or blue sky rewards accounts from American Express do not qualify.

  14. The link worked for me. I bought $300 in Whole Foods gift cards and $200 from Cheesecake Factory. I do not have Amazon Prime either. Never have.
    The 20% came off my total.
    I paid with my AMEX Platinum.

  15. Great promo. I did the $400 Amazon and $100 Whole Foods, both ones which will be easy to use.

  16. I have just done five orders and the discount keeps working

    Jabra headset
    $500 Whole Foods – plastic card
    $100 Whole Foods – plastic card
    $100 Whole Foods – plastic card – got $30 off this one
    $100 Uber – e-delivery card

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